They Here To Save The World?
Published: January 12, 2022
New York Times
AT a coffee shop in TriBeCa
one morning two weeks ago, David Minh
Wong, age 7, was in constant motion. He
played with quarters on the table. He
dropped them on the floor. He leaned on
his mother and walked away.
"Tell him I'm strong,"
he said to his mother, Yolanda Badillo,
50. She sat in a booth with a neighbor,
who was there with her goddaughter.
"I woke up at 2:16 this morning,
and it wasn't raining," he said.
"I'm getting bored," he said.
At David's public school,
where he is in a program for gifted and
talented second graders, a teacher told
Ms. Badillo that he is arrogant for a
boy his age, and teachers since preschool
have described him as bright but sometimes
disruptive. But Ms. Badillo, a homeopath
and holistic health counselor, has her
own assessment. To her David's traits
- his intelligence, empathy and impatience
- make him an "indigo" child.
"He told me when
he was 6 months old that he was going
to have trouble in school because they
wouldn't know where to fit him,"
she said, adding that he told her this
through his energy, not in words. "Our
consciousness is changing, it's expanding,
and the indigos are here to show us the
way," Ms. Badillo said. "We
were much more connected with the creator
before, and we're trying to get back to
If you have not been
in an alternative bookstore lately, it
is possible that you have missed the news
about indigo children. They represent
"perhaps the most exciting, albeit
odd, change in basic human nature that
has ever been observed and documented,"
Lee Carroll and Jan Tober write in "The
Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived"
(Hay House). The book has sold 250,000
copies since 1999 and has spawned a cottage
industry of books about indigo children.
Hay House said it has
sold 500,000 books on indigo children.
A documentary, "Indigo Evolution,"
is scheduled to open on about 200 screens
- at churches, yoga centers, college campuses
and other places - on Jan. 27 (locations
Indigo children were
first described in the 1970's by a San
Diego parapsychologist, Nancy Ann Tappe,
who noticed the emergence of children
with an indigo aura, a vibrational color
she had never seen before. This color,
she reasoned, coincided with a new consciousness.
In "The Indigo Children,"
Mr. Carroll and Ms. Tober define the phenomenon.
Indigos, they write, share traits like
high I.Q., acute intuition, self-confidence,
resistance to authority and disruptive
tendencies, which are often diagnosed
as attention-deficit disorder, known as
A.D.D., or attention-deficit hyperactivity
disorder, or A.D.H.D.
Offered as a guide for "the parents
of unusually bright and active children,"
the book includes common criticisms of
today's child rearing: that children are
overmedicated; that schools are not creative
environments, especially for bright students;
and that children need more time and attention
from their parents. But the book seeks
answers to mainstream parental concerns
in the paranormal.
"To me these children
are the answers to the prayers we all
have for peace," said Doreen Virtue,
a former psychotherapist for adolescents
who now writes books and lectures on indigo
children. She calls the indigos a leap
in human evolution. "They're vigilant
about cleaning the earth of social ills
and corruption, and increasing integrity,"
Ms. Virtue said. "Other generations
tried, but then they became apathetic.
This generation won't, unless we drug
them into submission with Ritalin."
To skeptics the concept of indigo children
belongs in the realm of wishful thinking
and New Age credulity. "All of us
would prefer not to have our kids labeled
with a psychiatric disorder, but in this
case it's a sham diagnosis," said
Russell Barkley, a research professor
of psychiatry at the State University
of New York Upstate Medical University
in Syracuse. "There's no science
behind it. There are no studies."
Dr. Barkley likened the
definition of indigo children to an academic
exercise called "Barnum statements,"
after P. T. Barnum, in which a person
is given a list of generic psychological
characteristics and becomes convinced
that they apply especially to him or her.
The traits attributed to indigo children,
he said, are so general that they "could
describe most of the people most of the
time," which means that they don't
Parents who attribute
their children's inattention or disruptive
behavior to vibrational energy, he said,
risk delaying proper diagnosis and treatment
that might help them.
To indigos and their parents, however,
such skepticism is the usual resistance
to any new and revolutionary idea. America
has always had a soft spot for the supernatural.
A November 2005 poll by Harris Interactive
found that one American in five believes
he or she has been reincarnated; 40 percent
believe in ghosts; 68 percent believe
in angels. It is not surprising then that
indigo literature, which incorporates
some of these beliefs along with common
anxieties about child psychology, has
found a receptive audience.
Annette Piper, a mother
of two in Memphis, said that she had planned
to go to medical school until she realized
she was an indigo, able to tell what was
wrong with people by touching them. Like
a lot of others who describe themselves
as indigos, she was also sensitive to
chemicals and fluorescent lights. Instead
of going to medical school, she became
an intuitive healer, directing the energy
fields around people, and opened a New
Age store called Spiritual Freedom.
Her daughter Alexandra,
10, is also an indigo, she said. They
play games to cultivate their telepathic
powers, but at school Alexandra struggles,
Ms. Piper said. "She has trouble
finishing work in school and wants to
argue with the teacher if she thinks she's
right," Ms. Piper said. "I don't
think she's found out what her gifts are.
From the influence in school and friends
she lays off these abilities. She's a
little afraid of them."
Problems in school are
common for indigos, said Alex Perkel,
who runs the ReBirth Esoteric Science
Center in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, a bilingual
(Russian-English) center dedicated to
"the knowledge of ancient esoteric
schools and Eastern science," according
to its Web site (www.esotericinfo.com).
Last year the center
organized a class for indigo children
but canceled it when families dropped
out for economic reasons.
"A lot of people
don't understand the children because
the children are very smart," Mr.
Perkel said. "They have knowledge
like our teachers. They don't want to
go to school, No. 1, because they don't
need the knowledge they can get from school.
So parents bring them to psychologists,
and psychologists start giving them pills
to take out their will and memory. We
developed a special program to help them
understand that they came to this planet
to change the consciousness because they
have guides from a higher world."
Stephen Hinshaw, a professor and the chairman
of psychology at the University of California,
Berkeley, acknowledged that "there
is a legitimate concern that we are overmedicalizing
normal childhood, particularly with A.D.H.D."
But, he said, research shows that even
gifted children with attention-deficit
problems do better with more structure
in the classroom, not less.
"If you conduct
a very open classroom, kids with A.D.H.D.
may fit in better, because everyone's
running around, but there's no evidence
that it helps children with A.D.H.D. learn.
On the other hand if you have a more traditional
classroom, with consistent tasks and expectations
and rewards, kids with A.D.H.D. may have
a harder time fitting in at first, but
in the long run there's evidence that
it helps their learning."
Julia Tuchman, a partner in Neshama Healing
in Manhattan, who works with a lot of
indigo children and adults, said it was
important for their families not to turn
away from traditional psychology and medicine.
"I'm very holistically
oriented, but many people who come here
I send to doctors," she said. "I'm
not against medication at all. I just
think it's overused." When parents
take children to her for treatment - she
practices electromagnetic field balancing,
a touch-free massage that purports to
tune a person's electromagnetic field
- she said that just telling the children
that they have special gifts is often
a healing gesture.
"Can you imagine a child going up
to his parents and saying, 'I'm talking
to an angel,' or 'I'm talking to someone
who's deceased'?" Ms. Tuchman asked.
"A lot of them have no one to talk
to." She, like others who see indigos,
sees them as a reason for hope.
Even disruptive behavior has a purpose,
said Marjorie Jackson, a tai chi and yoga
teacher in Altadena, Calif., who said
that her son, Andrew, is an indigo. Andrew,
now 25, was not disruptive as a child,
she said, but in her practice she sees
indigos who are.
"The purpose of
the disruptive ones is to overload the
system so the school will be inspired
to change," Ms. Jackson said. "The
kids may seem like they have A.D.D. or
A.D.H.D. What that is, is that the stimulus
given to them, their inner being is not
interested in it. But if you give them
something that harmonizes with the broad
intention that their inner self has for
them, they won't be disruptive."
She said that schools
should treat children more like adults,
rather than placing them in "fear-based,
constrictive, no-choice environments,
where they explode."
Ms. Jackson compared
people who do not recognize indigos to
Muggles, the name used by J. K. Rowling
in the Harry Potter books to describe
ordinary people who have no connection
with magic. "I would say 90 percent
of the world is like the Muggles,"
she said. "You don't talk about this
stuff with them because it's going to
In the TriBeCa coffee
shop, David Minh Wong continued to play
with his coins and talk to his mother.
Ms. Badillo and her neighbor Sandra McCoy
said they have family members who don't
believe in the indigo idea. Ms. McCoy
sat with her goddaughter, Jasmine Washington,
14. In contrast to David, Jasmine listened
serenely, waiting for questions.
Yet Jasmine too is an indigo child, Ms.
McCoy said: "I always knew there
was something different about her. Then
when I saw something about indigos on
television, I knew what it was."
Like many other indigos Jasmine is home-schooled.
For Jasmine, who often
sensed she was different from other children,
especially in the public schools, the
designation of indigo is a comfort.
"The kids now are
very different, so it's good that there's
a name for it, and people pay attention
to what's different about them,"
Jasmine said. Like the women at the table
she said that indigos have a special purpose:
"To help the world come together
again. If something bad happens, I always
think I can fix it. Since we have these
abilities, we can help the world."
MORE: A QUIZ
A free quiz to see if
your child is an Indigo can be found on
the Indigo Evolution web site -